For the past four years, every day as I looked out across Mission Bay, Woody Island marked the boundary. It was the other side. If we stood at the edge of our property, we could see a few buildings there, but for the most part, it was covered with trees and all the splendor God provides in a natural setting. As we look at it today, it is strange to think that at one time, there were more people on Woody Island than in Kodiak.

This past week, I got a closer look. I had the privilege of being the guest speaker for Camp Woody as they hosted third-graders and fourth-graders. Even with 50 campers and another 25 staff who were there as counselors, cooks and support, it was peaceful. The children played and fished and learned more about many things, but the most important part was learning more about God.

It’s difficult not to learn more about God when you spend time enjoying his creation as he made it. The beauty surrounds you and his creatures go about their business without paying much attention to intruders.

I was always enthralled to watch animals as they went about their daily tasks when I was growing up. It is no different now.

It is even more enjoyable to me now to watch the splendor of God’s creation through the eyes of the children. To discover the wonder of a starfish and listen to the quick squeal of the marmots as they scamper from harm’s way. I was reminded over and over again all week that God is constantly surrounding us with his creation and entrusting it to our care.

Just as he has given us children to love and care for and train in his ways, he has given us dominion over all that he created and has asked us to care for it, to love it, and to tend it. We seem to forget that too often.

Progress and our needs seem to take priority. We cut down more trees and pave more land to suit our desires. There has been much discussion over the years of the need to build a road out to the remote parts of Western Alaska. They say it will make things better. I wonder who it is better for. It seems that everywhere we open up access, we open up to abuse. It is easier to exploit and the people will come in droves to see it, but they will not leave it as they found it and some of its beauty will be lost forever.

King David wrote in the 139th Psalm, “Where can I go from your Spirit? Or where can I flee from your presence? If I ascend into heaven, you are there; If I make my bed in Hell, behold, you are there. If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me.”

May his right hand, the hand of mercy, be our guiding hand in caring for all that he has entrusted to us, whether it is his creation in the land or his creation in the lives around us.

I hope I was able to teach the children a little more about God than they already knew this past week. I know they taught me more about his love and his ways. I am better for it and they will always be in my prayers.

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